Disney’s live action remake of the 1994 animated film “Lion King” failed to impress movie critics who say the high definition CGI is “cold” and “unemotional.”
The movie received a Rotten Tomatoes score of 57.1. According to Roger Friedman’s Showbiz411, the new Lion King “is grim and dark. It’s not the buoyant celebration of life created for the stage by Julie Taymor, or the vibrant colorful explosion of love seen in the original film.”
The live action movie mixes in live lions, cubs, and hyenas with fake CGI animal characters. Critics say the live action CGI is too photorealistic and may scare children rather than delight and enchant them the way the original animated cartoon film did.
“It’s like watching National Geographic with talking animals,” said one critic on social media.
Other critics complained about the liberal propaganda and the lack of African culture in the film. “Indeed, nothing about ‘The Lion King’ looks African. It looks corporate,” wrote Friedman.
“At least with ‘Aladdin,’ Disney could bring the characters to life from animation. But bringing jungle beasts to life is a different story,” Friedman writes. “You can bring a cub to water but you can’t make him drink. Or smile. The result is that ‘The Lion King’ feels like a National Geographic documentary with narration sort of synched to close-ups.”
Friedman described Beyonce and Donald Glover’s singing as “lifeless,” but he saved his best praise for the great actor James Earl Jones, who voices Mufasa.
“He sets up the movie. This is really acting,” says Friedman.
“It’s not just that his deep rumbling baritone is comforting as maple syrup, yet still commanding. Whatever emotions there are in ‘The Lion King’ emanate from him. He’s already received the honorary Oscar and SAG Award. Is there anything we can do for him? We are in awe, and in his debt.”
Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images